There is a major flaw in the ever-growing world of possibilities of digital media. It’s a lack of purpose – goals, mission, and vision. I’ve read just about every major research statistic that shows a continued increase in digital marketing budgets in comparison to total company revenue. Here is an example from Gartner: http://www.gartner.com/technology/research/digital-marketing/digital-marketing-spend-report.jsp
This upward trend tells us obviously that more and more companies are relying on digital media as an avenue for revenue growth and profitability. With opportunity comes risk.
The flaw in mindset at the executive level
Many of the requests and questions I get from new clients are centered around activities. For example, “We want to be on the first page of Google for XYZ terms”, “We need a new website”, “We need to take better advantage of social media”. These are all valid questions that demonstrate a concern to improve their business, however, this mindset is flawed. The mindset behind statements such as “we need to be doing…” or “we need to take advantage of…” will make you bankrupt.
The flaw in the mindset behind these questions is that they are centered around activities and not specific measurable goals. Decisions on digital marketing strategy start with business objectives. Clear and measurable goals are set typically at the executive level. Technology is NOT part of this equation at this point.
Make digital marketing an asset, not a liability
The goals need to be considered with both quantifiable metrics and qualitative metrics. For example, “we want to increase revenue by $2m in 12 months for XYZ sector of our business with clients that meet XYZ criteria”. The quantifiable metric the scope that digital marketing activities need to produce and the qualitative metric helps to focus on aspects of the strategy that make the company profitable. This is the type of information that a digital marketing strategist needs in order to orchestrate the digital marketing activities necessary to deliver on these goals.
Company goals that are very specific with quantifiable and qualifiable metrics help digital marketing strategist determine:
- The tools to measure data from all digital marketing campaigns to produce metrics that tie directly back to company goals. For example, a reporting dashboard such as Klipfolio.
- The digital marketing platforms, technology, people, and vendors needed to execute the strategies that produce supporting metrics in line with company goals.
- The order of digital marketing activities that validate the execution of subsequent activities. For example, running a Google Adwords campaign to find out what keywords are producing the highest return on investment before spending more budget dollars on organic SEO activities.
- The appropriate budget required to support the scope behind the technology, people, and vendors required to execute the digital marketing strategy.
This list can go on forever. The point I want to make here is that decisions in digital marketing need to be made from your company goals first before ANY decisions are made on technology, people, and vendors to execute the strategy. Otherwise, it’s difficult and almost impossible to measure the ROI from a budget allocated to digital marketing.
Get started with a digital marketing strategist
Overall, you need to consider working with a digital marketing strategist that:
- Can understand your company goals and translate them into a series of projects, activities, and technology to support those goals.
- Reports back to you or a member of your staff at least once a month on how progress has been made to support company goals. There needs to be a standard set of reporting that proves results (i.e. business dashboard).
- Is unbiased to vendors in the digital market space as strategy shifts will take place. Even the best digital marketers never get it right 100% of the time. It’s just reality so we need to plan ahead for it.
- Documents each part of the digital marketing strategy as a project. This helps to determine what activities are working and which ones aren’t. Looking at your digital marketing strategy as one large project is a big mistake.
These points will help set you in the right mindset so you can see how your digital marketing strategy fits into your overall company strategy and goals. This mindset will keep you on point. It will keep you focused ON THE BUSINESS and not IN IT.